I went to see Olafur Eliasson’s Waterfalls, along the East River. We couldn’t have picked a better time to go, as the sun was starting to set and the sky was a beautiful shade of pink and purple. I love the twilight hour, whether it is dawn or dusk. And being along the river there is a such a nice breeze!
And then I had a discussion with another friend of mine about public art. His argument was that our tax dollars were going to this project, which would promote tourist dollars and therefore support big box stores that are invading our beloved city. While I’m no fan of big box stores, I’m not sure I totally agree. What makes this a great city to live in is the abundance of art and culture. While large publicized installments such as this one will certainly draw in crowds of tourists, it’s free to the public which is a treat. There’s no denying that Mayor Bloomberg is first and foremost a businessman, yes. But I guess it doesn’t really bother me that much. I like to view public art as something that’s available to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. Here we were, enjoying the falls with people we’d never see set foot in a museum. I find a lot of beauty in that.
And as I walked down to meet my friend by the Brooklyn Bridge, I wound through the heart of the Lower East Side into the depths of Chinatown. It felt like another world – and I loved it. This is what the real New York feels like to me. People who have lived here for generations, playing ball in the local playgrounds. I don’t think they even spoke much English. I used my instincts and took streets that led me south and east, not knowing my direct path but keeping my eye on the bridges. It was a fun walk, I should do that more often.
:Photo by Kathy Wu: